So you’ve completed your aged care course, what’s next?
It’s time to put your skills to good use.
Whether you’re applying for a position in an aged care facility, community center or as a home carer, you’ll notice that the major requirements are the same. You’ll need to submit a resume together with a cover letter and pass a job interview.
This means that you’d better make a good impression with those 3 requirements if you want to even get considered for a position. You may have the right aged care qualifications and the necessary skills, but you still need to show the hiring manager that you’re the one they’re looking for.
How can I strengthen my resume?
First of all, make sure that it has the information hiring managers look for in every resume. This includes your background, the qualifications you hold and any relevant work or volunteer experience you have.
According to a government survey, 53% of aged and disability care employers prefer candidates who have a certificate III level of training. If you’ve taken up the Certificate III in Aged Care, then you already hold a valid qualification.
There are other courses you can take to add on to your skill set. The Certificate III in Disability is ideal for supporting disabled children and adults, while the Certificate III in Home and Community Care is specific for residential care.
80% of hiring managers also give high importance to how much practical experience you have. Work placement is extremely valuable, but it’s not enough to just say that you completed 240 placement hours. Your resume should also list the specific tasks you did during that time plus your achievements. This lets employers know that you have the core skills of aged carers and shows them what you can do for their organisation.
Don’t worry if you don’t have much experience yet. You can look for volunteer opportunities in Brisbane, Melbourne, Sydney and across Australia on the www.govolunteer.com.au website. For more tips on how to get a an aged care position, read the guide “Getting an Aged Work Placement”.
How do I write a cover letter for aged care?
Your cover letter serves as the summary of your resume plus your personal traits. It is sometimes even used to measure how well you communicate with others, which is a key trait for personal support workers. A good cover letter covers the major reasons why you are fit for a position, but it should be short enough to be read in under a few minutes.
Cover letters for aged care typically include the following:
1. Opening Statement
It’s important to make your intentions clear right away by stating the position you’re applying for in the beginning. Example:
“My name is Emma Brown and I would like to apply for the Aged Carer position at the Brisbane Centre for the Elderly.”
If the employer includes a job reference number in the job advertisement, add this to your cover letter too.
2. Background Introduction
Afterwards, you should describe your background starting with your qualifications and experience. Example:
“I currently hold the Certificate III in Aged Care and completed 240 hours of service earlier this year at the Greenfield Elderly Community Center. My daily duties included organizing social activities, assisting in the hygiene of elderly clients and participating in their daily food preparations.”
If you have other relevant experience besides your qualification, you should also put it here. You can also add what you learned during other points of your life. Example:
“For the past 3 years, I have been taking care of my elderly father which has given me additional experience in general care. Being my dad’s constant companion while monitoring his health has taught me the importance of this service and strengthened my patience in caring for others. It was during this time that I decided to become an Aged Care Worker.”
Don’t forget to also describe your personal traits. Surveyed employers said that your work ethic and how well you work with others are particularly important when selecting new carers. Example:
“I believe that Aged Care is where I can focus my energy and compassionate nature to work as part of your team in providing high quality care.”
3. Closing Statement
End your letter strong with a suggestion on what you’d like to happen next. Example:
“I have attached my resume with more details on my qualifications. Please contact me if you have any questions. I look forward to discussing the position with you soon.”
What questions will I get asked in the job interview?
Most job interviews consist of general questions and age care specific questions. Preparing how to answer them goes a long way towards showing how suitable you are for a position.
Interviews test your knowledge and personality. This means that both your answer and how you say it are important. You might have an amazing resume and cover letter, but hiring managers still want to see and hear why they should choose you. This is even more important in aged care where communication skills are highly thought of.
For the complete list of the most common questions, check out the guide “Interview Questions and Interview Tips for Aged Care Jobs”.
You can start applying for jobs once you hold a valid qualification in aged or disability care.
Aged care employers look for qualifications, work experience and personality traits when reading resumes, cover letters and conducting interviews. This means that you should put your best foot forward and make a good impression in all of them.
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